The Raptors lost to the LaMelo-less Hornets - and practically trailed them the entire night - on Friday. Sheesh. Per Will Lou on the sportsnet Raptors Reaction podcast afterwards: “I’m warning you: don’t get excited about this team.” (that quote’s from memory, it might be off by a word.)

There has been one positive this year: Scottie Barnes’ ascendance towards looking like a perennial all-star player. Is any other player who will still be on this team when Scottie gets there currently on this team? Probably not.

3 of the Raptors’ 4 largest contacts are expiring this year - Pascal, Gary, and OG (who has a player option next year, but I don’t think he’ll pick it up since he’s rumoured to fetch much more as a FA). The Raptors’ performance as a team this year suggests no reason to keep this team together to me. Some other team in the league will probably offer Pascal and OG close to max contracts - but do we want to? Given their expiring contracts, they’re not going to fetch anywhere near as much on the trade market as they would have last year (e.g., 3 first round picks for OG), so it looks like we missed the good times to sell. I don’t know how tough Masai’s going to be able to be this year in terms of what he gets back - we can’t afford to let more contracts expire and get nothing in return (as has happened with several players since the championship!).

Of course, there’s no point in tanking this year, since we traded our first round pick last year for Poeltl.

There’s a risk in going into a longer-term rebuild or the team not improving next year. Next year is Scottie’s last year of his current contract. He will have many suitors, and rightfully so. Why would he want to re-sign with a team that’s fighting for a play-in spot and has an offence that the team’s own president says is “not fun to watch.”

I think Darko needs to change up his lines. I want to see Scottie starting at PG and Gary starting for spacing/shooting alongside Scottie (Dennis would come off the bench). At the trade deadline, we need to do what the Nets did since trading Durant and Kyrie: move a couple big chips for several more smaller, but still high-quality ones that keeps the team competitive. (Raptors probably have the worst bench in the league. Also we NEED shooting!) Longer-term: Don’t tie up as many assets in vets who don’t play. We have Thad (8 mil) and Garrett Temple (2 mil), and while I’m sure they’re great locker room presences - those contracts and roster spots don’t help with the depth of our bench.

Speaking of Masai/Bobby, I like them a lot and once had a lot of confidence in them, but their performance since the championship year has not looked very good.

Raps Fam - How are you feeling about the Raptors right now? Who do you think will get traded at the deadline? Pascal, OG, GTJ?

  • ashtrix
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    7 months ago

    It’s been tough to watch. Going down 20 to the Hornets to do another fake comeback. Our talent level and effort isn’t there to compete.

    • streetfestivalOP
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      7 months ago

      I agree all around. It’s odd that the effort doesn’t seem to be there seeing as now is the players’ opportunity to convince Masai he shouldn’t make a bunch of moves at the deadline. It’s easy for me to imagine that maybe the players recognize there isn’t enough (edit: or the right mix of) talent on this team and so everyone playing with Boucher-level intensity is futile. Who knows though

  • Tavarin
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    7 months ago

    3 first round picks for OG

    Those 3 first round picks were from good teams though, and are more like 3 second round picks as a result. I can see moving Pascal for depth, and trying to keep OG since he’s younger and a very good player.

    And we have Scottie’s rights, so it’s unlikely he’ll go anywhere else. See Luka staying on a mediocre Mavs team, or Trae Young resigning with a mediocre Hawks team.

    But yeah, we are mid as fuck, and it sucks to watch most nights.

    • streetfestivalOP
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      7 months ago

      Good point about the OG picks.

      I love OG, but a 3 and D guy who can’t create his own offence and who, I think, has basically reached his offensive ceiling is worth more to Indiana (for example; a win-now very offensive-oriented team) than Toronto (trajectory uncertain, bad offence).

      You’re probably right about Scottie, and I hope you are :)